I have to say that I identify with Job at times when I recall the loss of TJ, a son who almost made it to ten years despite the medical car crash that was his life and look at our four beautiful children. Not a replacement but a restoration and added blessing.
The same is true in other areas of my life - and I don't think I've been especially faithful, I have my feet of clay and my own stupid and selfish bits, but praise God because He has been; after all - faithful, that's His other name isn't it?
Where do you need to be perserving? Where have you been persevering? Trust God for a blessing .. for that's His business then, and now! After all, look at His credentials in the Hebrews reading. Thia is one cool high priest indeed - totally trustworthy, consistent and integrity ridden. Comes with a guarantee that is cast iron: So why not put Him to the test (it's biblical, don't worry - I'm not leading you into sin but salvation and reconciliation with God therough God!
The Gospel, what a story: We find a blind beggar, Bartimaeus (son, that's what 'bar' means, of Timaeus) sitting by the roadside. Hearing Jesus is there he calls out to Him: ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
The people (probably the church goers!) tell him to shush (I remember that in a situation where Jesus was replaced by Rowan Williams) so he shouts louder - a good lesson here, don't let the administrators get in the way, demand to speak to management (and you can... 'Our father in heaven...') directly.
Jesus tells the people to bring Bartimaeus to him. So they called him saying, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ Needing no further encouragement he throws his possessions (his cloak) aside and legs it to Jesus who does something amazing. When you get a chance to meet Jesus, then dumping what little you have makes sense: how often do we get our priorities right like this?
He asks, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
Here is God made man and yet rather than assume that He knows what the man wants (and I'm sure He, and we, had a good idea), He asks. So when we encounter people with needs, why do we assme that we don't need to ask???
You've probably guessed what the man asks for, ‘My teacher, let me see again, and of course the answer is, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’
The same faith that we started off with when encountering Job at the beginning of today.
Got the hint?
Job done then - off you go (don't forget to chuck the things that weight you down!
who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Away at a conference I heard this again: been forty years since I first heard it and I thought I'd share it: Never thought I'd be a C&W bloke :-)
Then Job answered the Lord:
‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.”
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’ And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.
Furthermore, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Post Communion Prayer
God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.